Colorado native, River Radamus, had some unfinished business to take care of heading into Thursday’s World Junior Championship men’s super-G in Val di Fassa, Italy. The 2018 Overall NorAm champion had won silver medals in each of the last two WJCs he has competed in — including a silver in last year’s super-G — but had yet to find the elusive top step of the podium.
Ever since his wild start to his international career, capturing a remarkable three gold medals at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, Radamus has dealt with high expectations for himself. Despite being one of the youngest racers in the field, Radamus was the center of a wild amount of media attention at this season’s World Cup races in Beaver Creek, his home hill.
Stepping into the starting gate on Thursday, Radamus had limited time in the speed disciplines this winter, instead choosing to focus on the technical events of slalom and giant slalom on the World Cup. Wearing bib three, the Coloradan dominated the middle and bottom sections of the course to finish with a time of 1:09.29 seconds and take gold by 0.34 seconds ahead of Norway’s Lucas Braathen. Braathen held an early lead over the American but could not match Radamus’ pace on the lower parts of the course. Frenchman Florian Loriot rounded out the podium in third, 0.48 seconds back.
“Today meant a lot to me,” Radamus said. “I’ve had silvers at the last two World Juniors and I was pretty sick of finishing runner up to be honest. When I sat down and made my goals last summer, I had ‘Gold at World Juniors’ at the top of the list. When I was in the gym training or exhausted from skiing, this race is what I’d think about to keep going. My motto all summer was ‘remember why’. This race right here was my why.”
Radamus’ gold is the first American medal of the Championships. Radamus finished eighth in Wednesday’s downhill, the second American after Kyle Negomir, another Vail racer, in sixth. The women have raced slalom and GS so far and were led by a seventh-place finish from AJ Hurt in the GS and a 10th place in slalom from Katie Hensien. Needless to say, Radamus’ medal was a welcome one for the American team.
“World Juniors is an important benchmarking event for us, both for individual athletes on the way to the World Cup and to show our depth as a nation,” explained U.S. Ski & Snowboard Alpine Development Director, Chip Knight. “River’s win today was exciting because he’s been in the hunt at the event the last two years, but he hadn’t won yet, so this results highlights his progression as an athlete. It’s also encouraging for our program from top to bottom because River has worked closely with staff and teammates at the World Cup, Europa Cup, and NorAm levels this year. It takes a team to push athletes to the top!”
Radamus already had good feelings about the Italian Dolomites, capturing his first World Cup points in December with a 24th place at the iconic Alta Badia GS, a short hour-and-a-half drive away. The 21-year-old was quick to point to the rest of his team as key factors in his success this season.
“I couldn’t have done this without my team,” added Radamus. “We’ve been pushing each other’s limits all summer and winter. The last few weeks we’ve been really locked in. Training with a common mission, and supporting each other as we pursued it. I was the one who got to take the top step today, but every one of them helped me get here.”
Following Radamus as the next American finisher was Cooper Cornelius in 30th place. Jimmy Krupka finished in 38th and Jacob Dilling 43rd. Bridger Gile did not finish and Negomir was disqualified.
Women’s super-G and the alpine team event are next on the World Junior schedule for Friday, February 22.
- River Radamus (USA): 1:09.29
- Lucas Braathen (NOR): +0.34
- Floria Loriot (FRA): +0.48
- Manuel Tranninger (AUT): +0.55
- Lars Roesti (SUI): +0.80
- Junian Schuetter (AUT): +1.07
- Arnaud Boisset (SUI): +1.13
- Johan Hagberg (SWE): +1.15
- Nicolo Molteni (ITA): +1.27
- Ken Caillot (FRA): +1.32
For complete FIS results, please click here.